Last time I mentioned how slow January can be - well, February's much the same! Especially when the weather is as unreliable as it has been. As I mentioned in the last post, my February tours were on the legal side, exploring crime and the law in the City and the East End. Most went ahead, but with small audiences.
My last tour of the month was 'To Make the Punishment Fit the Crime', which is my oldest tour. It began as a project for the City Guide course, and includes the rather sordid story of George Sloane, who was nearly lynched on his way to being remanded at Giltspur Street Compter (above). Among the group was Hilary Kruger, media guru, who helped me hugely with enlivening my professional profile. Her website is here - give her some thought next time you want to extend your commercial reach:
Though it was intensely cold, with wind blowing off of the river, a small group joined me for the reduced-price preview of my new literary tour, 'Peter Ackroyd's Monstrous East End'. The tour features readings from four of Ackroyd's novels, and explores the monstrous portrayal of the Sailortown area. From Limehouse we crossed Ratcliffe, went up through Wapping and finished at Shadwell. At time of writing, bookings are already coming in for the first full outing on 10 March.
One interesting commission came in via Footprints of London. An American lady called Ana Mirabal is researching Disney heroines, and wanted a medieval tour to give context to the Sleeping Beauty story. I tweaked my medieval 'Before the Make-Over' tour to reflect as much as possible at short notice the activities of medieval women - mainly queens - in medieval London. I did some stuff to camera early in the tour, and she's said she'll send me a link to it. If it's not too gruesome I'll link it up to this blog when it arrives. In a few day's time I'll be doing this tour again for some New York University undergraduates, and you may be interested in this item I wrote after the first time I took groups of NYU students on it:
Next month I'm scheduled to go to Luton to address a University of the Third Age (U3A) group about the Honourable East India Company. (That's their original charter of 1600 above.) Given that I'm doing so much prep I've decided to put it to good use, and on 31 March I'll be giving a reduced-price preview of a new tour, which has the working title of 'To Blackwall and Beyond'. The tour moves from Poplar to Blackwall and focusses especially on the EIC, though it'll be looking at the whole development of London's first docks. It'll be a companion to my tour 'Tidemarks from the Pool', which is coming up again on 25 March. Next year I'll fill in the gap with a Sailortown tour, inspired by my Ackroyd tour.
In order to compliment the new dockland tour, my March tours lead up to it by being exclusively East End. Sadly I'm too late to prompt you about the WW2 tour 'Just You Wait and See', scheduled to commemorate on 3 March 2018 the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster. But the tours scheduled so far for March, and indeed April. can be found on my website:
I've trespassed enough on your time for one post I feel, so I'll close now; there are various bookings coming in for March already, so as we move into a busier time I hope to have much more to report and to provide illustration of the splendours and miseries of the jobbing tour guide.
With very best wishes.